Helping you to satisfy your taste for crafts on a budget.
"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might," Ecclesiastes 9:10
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

DIY American Girl gymnastics bars

My handyman hubby just keeps the projects coming!
This weekend he built our girls a set of uneven bars for their American girl dolls.

1 10' PVC pipe
6 PVC elbows
2 PVC tees
duck tape (for decor)

We bought everything at Home Depot for $15. The cost was $9 for the pipe and pieces and another $8 for the two rolls of duck tape. See the girls holding all their supplies...

He used a saw to cut the 10ft pipe into these lengths:

2 @22"
2 @10"
4 @14"

The whole project took about 30min to put together...very easy!!
After fitting the pipes together, we wrapped duck tape around them.

Here is Laila trying it out inside. Of course McKenna has to share the equipment with Lalaloopsy (Laila has named this one "Beatrice.") And this would work with most dolls.
For smaller dolls, you could just shorten the heights, or for taller dolls, raise them higher.
Just figure your measurements before you start cutting.
Since this project was so easy, the girls and I think we need a balance beam now.
Stay tuned for more craftiness!

Monday, January 21, 2013

DIY loft bed

Those of you who know us know that this project was finished over a month ago, but I'm finally getting around to the blog post.

I am so very thankful for my handy husband! He built a loft bed for our girls' bedroom.

He did not follow any plans, just sketched it out and started cutting. It took him a couple days to do the cutting, routing, and sanding. It took me a couple more days to paint it. Then it took an afternoon to assemble it and shop for a mattress. So I guess we devoted about 5 days total to this.

The cost breakdown:
We spent $108.21 on the materials needed (mattress was additional). We used Lowe's top choice lumber (pine). We already had white paint.

I also needed to purchase new mattress covers...found these at good ol' Walmart:

The girls are thrilled and are loving it! Laila got this Lalaloopsy bedding set (lower bunk) for Christmas. She is still getting used to sharing a room with her sister, now that we converted her baby room to a playroom. Our playroom is always in a state of chaos, but at least it is "lived in", and the mess is no longer in my way in the living room. well, most days. :)

After a couple weeks, we also decided that an additional step was needed for the ladder. So it is not pictured but we do have 4 steps now; we needed about 10 inches between each step.

So Much Fun!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Girl Scouts January Meeting

After a long winter break, we are back in school, and this week we are back to scouting.
Our January meeting was fun!

First I passed out badges, pins, and sashes to our newest members. Then we talked about our plans for this year...what we'll be doing at the meetings, outings we might attend, and cookie sales.

Then we played a really fun game called "I went to the store." The first girl starts by saying "I went to the store and I bought."..and she names something that starts with letter A. The next girl does the same thing with letter B and must also remember what the girl before her bought. And it continues with more and more "items" to remember. We only have 11 girls so we went around our circle twice.These silly girls were stuck on animals for some reason, so we should've called the game "I went to the zoo!"

Then for our craft, I taught them paper weaving. We used recycled magazine pages and construction paper.

First we cut the magazine pages into strips.

Then we cut our construction paper. You can do straight lines, zigzags, wide or narrow, whatever you want. On this paper, I did zigzag:

*Tip of the Day: Cut your magazine strips the same direction that you cut your construction paper. If you cut your paper width-wise, cut your strips the same directions. If you cut your paper horizontal, cut your strips the same. If you cut your paper horizontal but your strips vertical, they will be too short to weave! At the ends, you will need a drop of glue to hold the strips in place.

Then we started weaving! Over, under, over, under, over, under...I didn't even have to explain this part, they figured it out from looking at the example that I brought with me.

A few of our creations:
This is a great project because it is a good environmental example (recycling!), it is great for hand-eye coordination practice, and it is a craft that could be used in other ways like with ribbon, yarn, different colored papers/patterns, etc!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Healthier "Us"

John and I don't usually set New Years resolutions. But we are believers that there is always room to improve ourselves. We go to the gym regularly (he does much better at that than I do), we eat fairly healthy, and we are always up for a new recipe!

So when he saw a sign for a Fit Challenge at our local health supplement store, he knew he wanted to go for it. He weighed in and got measured, and is now on a quest to get as fit as he can in 8 weeks. He is a gym rat (6 days/week) so his exercise routine won't change, but our grocery list does have more protein, fruits, and veggies listed. I will be starting the p90x system in the mornings after I drop the kids off at school. We are going to eat better together. We know how to "diet", we know what to eat and what not to eat. It's just a matter of making the extra effort of planning grocery lists better and spending more time in the kitchen washing, dicing, chopping, ...PREPARING! I always feel much better when I eat right and exercise, so I can't wait to feel more energy.

Starting with breakfast,
I plan to make smoothies. I have a list of 6 different smoothies that I wrote out on index cards and clipped to the frig. So in the am, I can quickly throw everything in my Ninja.

I will have all the ingredients on hand every week and just pick a card each morning. I'm kinda excited to get up in the mornings now...almost as excited as last year when I first got my Keurig!

My recipes, which you can find most of these on my Pinterest board labeled "Drinks" are (click on name of each smoothie for link to each recipe):

Green fruit smoothie. This is probably the healthiest, consisting entirely of fruits and greens (spinach, which you cannot taste in this).

Almond apple banana smoothie...this is apparently Jessica Simpson's secret breakfast to her weight loss.

Clean eating strawberry oatmeal smoothie...this is from The Gracious Pantry, and is really really good!

Choco nana berry power protein shake...another "clean eating" recipe from He and She Eat Clean. This site also has other shake recipes that I plan to try.

Pumpkin spice frappe...this is supposed to be as good as Starbucks but a fraction of the calories and sugar.

Coffee protein shake...this just might be the answer to getting my rear out of bed on these cold winter mornings!

I'm not sure how many of these smoothies John will try, because he really likes his steamy bowl of oatmeal in the mornings, so we always have the gigantic 2lb container of old fashioned oats on hand. He adds a drizzle of honey for sweetness.

Other breakfast options are veggie omelettes, peanut butter on whole wheat toast, and baked oatmeal casserole, which is great for breakfast, snacks, or even dessert.

For lunch,
we do a lot of tuna! And lean turkey slices. We eat it on whole wheat bread/crackers, and paired with fruits, veggies, cottage cheese, and hard boiled eggs. With both of us home at lunch, we can also use most of our breakfast options for lunch.

For dinner,
Lean protein, fruits, veggies, and limited carbs.

For snacks,
Almonds, fruit, protein bars, and no-bake energy bites are usually our go-to snacks.

Picture courtesy of Smashed Peas and Carrots.

My dad and I like to talk nutrition. The other day, I told him about steel cut oats, and he told me about chia seeds, which are gainly popularity and are a great source of omega 3, as well as protein, fiber, and antioxidants! I have used flaxseed and wheat germ before but never chia seeds. You can sprinkle these into a lot of homemade breads and muffins, or use in smoothies. So I will be on the lookout for those to add to some of our recipes.

So, wish us luck! And good luck to you on your resolutions!
And if you don't see me crafting or blogging much, it's just because I'm trying to get myself fit!
I also have a goal to read more so I will hopefully be able to turn off social media to spend more time reading!

Happy New Year